Madison Contemporary Fiber Artists (MCFA) is a group of 40+ diverse fiber artists from the Madison and southern Wisconsin area who share a passion for creating original art from fiber. Originating in 1999 as a collective for fiber artists, the group continues to pursue its dual mission: to foster the growth of members by providing a forum to explore contemporary design and fiber manipulation techniques, to offer advice about works-in-progress, and to stimulate creativity. The public part of our mission–to promote fiber as an art form–is accomplished primarily through group exhibitions and occasional public workshops.
MCFA artists’ work currently includes art quilts, surface design, beading, paper making, thread painting, hand embroidery, weaving, contemporary dolls, wearable art, felting, hand stitching, fabric dyeing, and mixed fiber media.
Through MCFA I was given the wonderful opportunity to submit quilts for two different exhibits. The first one (ending 2/8/19) is “Explorations” at the Monroe Clinic in Monroe, Wisconsin. This is the quilt I have on display.
The second display is at the Anderson Art Center, 6603 3rd Avenue, Kenosha, Wisconsin. The exhibit continues until March 3rd. On display are Ithese two pieces.
I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity! If you have the chance to stop by make sure you find my quilts. They are located on the second floor of the museum.
Sewing brings me joy and keeps my creative mind engaged and happy.
Being a multitasker, I often have more than one project going. My design wall is currently home to my unfinished VFW Double Wedding Ring
a Storm Star Quilt.
Both are awaiting quilting.
My smaller design board displays the building blocks for one my latest improv quilts.
This is another in-progress art piece. This one was started during a Heidi Parkes class I took at Blue Bar Quilts. Here’s a sneak peek.
In multiple plastic storage tubs are other items waiting for my attention. Some have been started while others look the same way they did when I brought them home.
During 2019 I’ve made a personal goal to work-on and finish as many projects as possible. Many of my unfinished items have been gathered into tubs. Those tubs will be taken to a February quilting retreat. I know that I have packed way more projects than I could ever dream of completing but that doesn’t upset me. Having more than necessary gives me the opportunity to adjust my focus if I get bored.
Even though I have a very long list of items to complete it didn’t stop me from adding several more. So far this year I have added:
Before heading to Woodland Ridge for Pam Beal’s class, I stopped in Menomonie at the cutest little fabric shop called Thread Lab. The art piece I will share today incorporates three of the fabrics purchased during my shopping spree.
Those that read and write the English language are familiar with the letter “L”. The “L” begins with a downward swipe of the pen, then continues on toward the right. These two lines form a ninety degree angle.
The English language is read from top to bottom and left to right. This top to bottom, left to right flow is replicated in the letter “L”. When viewing art our eye travels along the same path.
If you recall, I mentioned earlier one of the traits Pam said was important for a successful art piece. The term I am referring to is “L” Shape Balance. If my quilt were to achieve “L” Shape Balance then my eye would begin in the top left corner and proceed across and down the surface.
I believe my mini art piece achieves that balance. The blue fabric, situated to the left of the center, echoes the downward movement of a pen creating the first part of an “L”. The grey fabric directly below can be identified with the left to right swipe.
Did I loose you?
In other words, my eye first travels from top to bottom down the surface of the blue fabric. Next it makes a right angle and follows along the grey strip to the outer right edge.
Is that better?
X’s and O’s
X’s and O’s are often used to signify a hug and a kiss when writing sentiments in, say for instance—a card. I’ve titled today’s art piece X’s and O’s not because I’m sending you a kiss or a hug. Instead I’ve chosen this reference because of the fabrics I used to create it.
If you look closely in the body of my piece you will see skinny strips of fabric accentuated by the letter “X”. You will also notice a blue fabric decorated with black dots. The “X’s” and dots, or “O’s” were the inspiration for my quilt’s name.
Let’s look at the remaining features of my art piece. This small art quilt was made using three different colors—black, grey and blue. The
blue fabric with the black dots;
the grey and black fabric with the x’s; and
the darker grey and black near the bottom
were purchased during my fabric shopping trip. The balance of the other fabrics were harvested from my stash.
Years and years ago I tried mastering the art of hand quilting. After several attempts I threw in the towel and turned to machine quilting. Hand quilting is Pam’s preferred method. After seeing Pam’s masterpieces and how lovely they looked with her stitching I decided to give it another try.
I chose three thread colors for my stitching.
The grey fabrics were accented with grey thread.
Black thread was my obvious choice for the two black border pieces.
In the remaining sections I used a soft blue.
After achieving a workable rhythm I actually grew to appreciate hand quilting. The somewhat uneven appearance of my stitches gives my small project a more rustic texture.
Strategically placed stray stitches along with random beading are Pam’s go-to-method for adding elements of surprise. Using this for my inspiration I added a few stray stitches along with four French knots in the quilt’s right, grey panel. These two elements add a little sparkle.
The Little Things
Now that we have examined the obvious details let’s take one last look at the unmentioned features.
X’s and O’s measures 14” L x 8 5/8“ w.
Surrounding my quilt is a binding made from black fabric.
In between the quilt sandwich is a layer of Warm & Natural batting.
The back is protected by a layer of black fabric.
A hanging sleeve and label have been attached as well.
That’s A Wrap
With so much to share, this has been a very long post. I think you would agree though that it was well worth the read.
Thank you so much for sticking with me. Let’s do this again!
The Wisconsin Quilt Expo is held every year in September. Early this summer they invited artists to submit their mini quilts to be considered for entry into the Modern MiniQuilt Challenge.
I’ve always wanted to enter a quilt in a competition but never had the nerve to do it. Just like many of you I have
They say you have to be willing to take rejection as easily as acceptance.
I’ve struggled with that concept all my life. I guess I would never make a good salesperson.
This year the temptation of the mini quilt category was too much to resist.
I have a portfolio filled with specimens. There just had to be one that I could be willing to share with my peers. Which one though?
After looking over the possible candidates I decided to select this one.
The deadline for entries was the end of June.
After crossing the stumbling blocks of
possible rejection and
choosing the quilt to enter
I approached my next personal challenge…
It was hard for me to package up and mail my mini quilt. My faith in our delivery system has been tainted by
Trusting the USPS to safely and successfully deliver my mini quilt was nerve-racking. Obviously I had to overcome that phobia in order to participate in the challenge.
After mailing my item the waiting game began. The Expo Committee said they would make their decision by 7/31/18. I mailed my mini quilt well before the deadline. Mailing it early meant I had 40+ days to wait for their decision.
Let’s fast forward to early August. Of course I just happened to be on vacation with my grandchildren when my letter arrived. While I would have liked to be able to run to the mailbox to find the letter myself, spending time with my daughter and grandchildren was way more important.
My husband was at home so he had the pleasure of opening the envelope.
Here’s the photo he sent me.
I was so excited to find out that my mini art piece would be on display in the Expo Hall. How
There is a well-known quote by Benjamin Franklin that reads:
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
To put it in other words, we must be willing to take a risk in order to achieve something.
took a risk
I can’t wait to see my mini quilt,
amongst the other awesome entries! My camera will be very busy that day.
Some may think of 13 as being an unlucky number but I think Day 13 is my lucky day! On January 1, 2018, I set out on a journey to create one Mystery QAL original art piece. Not only did I smash that goal but I surpassed it by three. Using the Fluffer Nutter You Be You fabric as my starting point I was able to harvest four new original art pieces. The main and largest piece is this one.
This piece has been named Neighbors, AP # 37. The blocks of this original art piece have been stitched together. Left to achieve is the quilting, binding, etc. When I have finished these tasks I will share an update.
The other three original art pieces haven’t received as much attention. Neighbors was the main topic of the last 12 entries in this journal. Being the largest piece certainly meant it deserved the most focus. The other three projects are far smaller yet just as interesting. Their process of evolution took place much more quietly.
So, on this lucky Day # 13 let me introduce you to it’s neighbors.
The first original art piece has been titled At an Angle, AP # 34.
At an Angle is my official entry into the Mystery QAL. A quick focus in the center section, will reveal the required fabric, Fluffer Nutter You Be You.
The next original art piece to be identified is the item above called Disjointed, AP # 36. This one does not meet the requirements for the Mystery QAL because it doesn’t contain the Fluffer Nutter You Be You fabric.
Last But Not Least
The last of my three smaller pieces is this one.
Bubbles, AP # 38, could have very easily qualified for the Mystery QAL because it too has the Fluffer Nutter You Be You fabric. I didn’t want to complicate my entry into the QAL by declaring two projects. While this one carries the chosen fabric, it will remain as an independent item.
All three of the above original art pieces have had their facings added. Left to complete is the attachment of the hanging sleeve and label, as well as hand stitching. I will share updates for each of them when I have these tasks completed.
Thank YOU so much for faithfully following along on this adventure! I’m grateful for the dedication that you have shown through your continued visits and the sharing of your comments.